Posts Tagged With: 91

Manowar Anthology Sampler: Manowar Ruination Torpedo

Less than a year after the so successful release of the Man O’ War series, Meier & Dutch and A.J. Fernandez came with a new blend, even stronger and bolder than the original. A blend that would blow you away, kill you and leave you ruined so the name Ruination was picked for the second Man O’ War release.


The cigar, of which I’m smoking the 5.7×56 Belicoso featured in the Anthology Sampler, is made from Honduran and Nicaraguan ligero with a Nicaraguan Habano binder. The wrapper comes from Ecuador and is of a Habano ligero kind.


The cigar looks tough, the dark, bitter chocolate colored wrapper with a leathery touch, the Man O’ War wing in darker colors, the fat yet pointy shape, well finished, it all makes this cigar look bad ass yet cool. The aroma is medium strong, it smells like manure and wood.


I used my butterfly cutter to take the cap off. The cold draw is good, I taste a little pepper and well fermented tobacco. After lighting I taste coffee, mild spicy, with some acidity and pepper. After a centimeter I taste soil with some sweetness. The sweetness slowly grows. Halfway I taste wood, cinnamon, sweetness and soil. The sweetness is balanced perfectly with the other flavors. The final third starts with vegetable flavors, a strong flower flavor, some wood and soil, all balanced and very nice.


The draw is good. The smoke is medium thick and full. The light gray ash is dense, firm with nice rings. The burn is good, quite straight. The cigar is medium full bodied, full flavored. The flavors are well balanced. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, loved it.

Score: 91
number91

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Categories: 91, Manowar, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

La Herencia Cubana Core Perfecto

About a year ago my buddy Rutger came by my house to smoke a few cigars and he handed me this La Herencia Cubana Core Perfecto. Usually I shy away from a 6×60 but in a box pressed double perfecto shape I don’t mind the vitola. Add that it had been years since I smoked a La Herencia Cubana, so I gladly accepted his gracious offer.


The A.J. Fernandez made cigar has an interesting blend of ligero tobaccos from Esteli and Ometepe in Nicaragua, Honduran Jamastran ligero with some Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapped in a Habano viso from Esteli and a sun grown Habano ligero wrapper from Ecuador. Just that line up alone makes me very curious and excited, it sounds delicious.


The shape is awesome and the wrapper is very dark, almost as dark as the Oscuro Fuerte I reviewed a few days ago. Except this wrapper has a little tooth making it feel like fine sanding paper. The ring is completely different than the Oscuro Fuerte ring, brown pair with black petals and a darker brown logo, small lettering. Very modest and old school. The construction is top, the cigar has a good touch and the shape is awesome. The cigar has a medium strong aroma that is quite dark, dark wood and some manure.


I used a guillotine cutter to take the cap of the cigar. The cold draw is good, I taste sweetness and pepper.  After lighting I taste coffee with a hint of chocolate. The first third is relatively the same. Then I taste more of a dark wood, with chocolate and some spice. Slowly a little pepper shows up too. Near the end I taste wood with a floral flavor and a mild pepper.


The draw is perfect, the smoke is thick and white. The ash is white with black stripes. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The cigar doesn’t have a lot of evolution but what I taste is damn good. The smoke time is an hour and fifty minutes, thanks to a nub tool.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would not mind a few more.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, La Herencia Cubana, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Reposado Maduro Salomon

Yesterday, when I reviewed the Reposado 96 Habano Salomon I told you how I got introduced to the cigars and how I was amazed by the price. I remember that back in those days I smoked quite a few of these, I might even have ordered a box for myself or did I do a box split? I can’t remember exactly since it’s been so long ago. Somehow I lost these cigars out of sight. Time to revisit the maduro version as well.


I do not know if the Reposado 96 Salomon is related to the, also cheap, Reposado Estate Blend. Well, related it is, but what I ment to say, I don’t know if the blend is the same. The relationship is clear, both brands owned by Meier & Dutch, both brands made at A.J. Fernandez his operations in Esteli, both dirt cheap but the Estate Blend comes in bundles of 10 and have rings while the salomon, that got released years before the estate blend, comes in boxes of 30 and without ring. If anybody knows the answer, please contact me.


Just like the Habano this cigar comes protected in cellophane. The wrapper is dark and toothy, it feels a bit like fine sanding paper. The construction is awesome, the shape, the size, the color, this cigar looks apetizing and feels well made. Again, no ring so no score for that. The cigar has a medium, dry woody and slightly floral aroma.


The shape of the cigar asks for a cut, the cold draw is good, mild spicy and peppery. After lighting I taste coffee, clean yet smooth. After an inch I taste the coffee yet with sweetness and pepper. I also taste some licorice and chocolate. After a third I notice that the flavors are a bit muted. Halfway I taste some vanilla and cream with a good dose of pepper. The creaminess disappears while the pepper grows.


The draw is perfect. The ash is quite dark. The cigar had a nice evolution. The white smoke is medium thick and full. This cigar is medium to full bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I will

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Nicaraguan cigars, Reposado, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , ,

Reposado Habano Salomon

About 10 years ago a friend of mine brought me a few huge figurados, bigger than I had ever seen by then, and he asked me what I think the price tag was. I was shocked when I heard that they were less than $2.50 at one of the big internet retailers, a price that has just slightly increased over the last decade. So I started digging, found out they are a Meier & Dutch private label made by A.J. Fernandez under the Reposado 96 name. Years later I personally introduced the cigars to the Dutch market and they sold quite well here too.


These 7.1 x 58 FIgurados come in three blends, Connecticut, Habano and Maduro but I only smoked the latter two due to my disliking of the Connecticut Shade wrappers. The cigar is made with Nicaraguan grown Cuban seed tobacco and they come in boxes of 30 sticks, and with a cigar of this size and shape that means big boxes, that actually look very nice.


When I take the cigar out of the cellophane I see a slight reddish brown wrapper, quite smooth and nice, it looks way better than what you can expect for that price. The cigar feels well constructed, it looks just very cool due to the shape and impressive due to the size. The cigar has no ring. The cigar has a medium full barnyard and spice aroma.


Due to the vitola I have no option but to cut. The only cutter I had in reach was a freebie double guillotine cutter. The cold draw is great, woody and meaty with a little pepper. After lighting I instantly taste a strong yet balanced coffee. After the thin tip the cigar opens up, the coffee is less strong with some sugar and a little acidity. There is also a hint of dark chocolate. After an inch I taste cedar with a vanilla and floral sweetness. Slowly the flavors get stronger and some black pepper shows up too. Halfway the flavors turn a little from smooth to a more fuller flavor. Cedar with creamy chocolate and pepper. The final thirds starts smooth again, young wood, some sweetness and a little pepper. The pepper is growing in strength.


The draw is great. Yet the smoke is on the thin side. The light gray ash is firm. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The smoke time is an hour and fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, this is a great budget cigar.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , ,

Cigar of the month January

Since the end of the year is an expensive month for most of us, I decided to smoke and review some budget cigars for the month of January. I wish I hadn’t though, even though some budget cigars preformed really well, and others had a good price-quality ratio, I rather pay a few dollars extra and have an almost guaranteed cigar enjoyment.

As for this month, the cigar with the highest rating is:
Diesel Unholy Cocktail with a 95 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Diesel Unholy Cocktail Belicoso (Nicaragua) 95 points
2) Calixto Lopez Torpedo (Nicaragua) 91 points
3) Nica Libre Torpedo (Nicaragua) 91 points
4) Blue Ribbon Robusto (Nicaragua) 90 points
5) Joya Black Toro (Nicaragua) 89 points
6) Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Corona (Honduras) 89 points
7) Flor de Oliva Lancero (Nicaragua) 88 points
8) Benchmade Toro (Nicaragua) 87 points
9) Schizo Maduro Robusto (Honduras) 87 points
10) Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Habano (Honduras) 87 points
11) Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Natural (Honduras) 86 points
12) Cuba Libre Epicure (Honduras) 85 points
13) Schizo Robusto (Nicaragua) 85 points
14) Miami Mafia Torpedo (Nicaragua) 85 points
15) Chincalero Fuerte Picadillos (Nicaragua) 84 points
16) Non Plus Ultra Maduro Toro (Honduras) 84 points
17) Berger & Argenti Mooch Maduro Corona (Nicaragua) 84 points
18) Reposado Maduro Toro (Nicaragua) 84 points
19) Oro de Esteli Robusto (Nicaragua) 83 points
20) Jose L Piedro Cazadores (Cuba) 83 points
21) Nestor Reserva Maduro Torpedo (Honduras) 82 points
22) La Flor de Rosa Churchill (Nicaragua) 82 points
23) Don Tomas Clasico Robusto (Honduras) 80 points
24) Reposado Habano Toro (Nicaragua) 79 points
25) La Rica Churchill (Nicaragua) 78 points
26) Cucaracha Nub (Nicaragua) 77 points
27) JR Edicion Limitada Robusto (undisclosed) 77 points
28) Oro de Esteli Robusto (Nicaragua) 77 points
29) Quorum Toro (Nicaragua) 73 points

Categories: Cigar of the month | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Calixto Lopez Torpedo

When I met the late Don Kiki Berger I thought he was living the life, I mean, the guy had his own factory in Nicaragua and most of what he produced he sold to his own shop, Cuban Crafters, where he had busloads of Asian tourists stop, clean the place out like a flog of locusts and then move on (I saw this with my own eyes). He didn’t have to deal with sales reps, shops owners etc etc, and every time I saw his he was hanging out with his friends playing domino at the shop or having a good time at the lounge.


One of the cigars he made is the Calixto Lopez, named after a famed old Cuban brand, and made with filler from Esteli, Jalapa and Ometepe in Nicaragua, a Sumatra leaf from Ecuador as a binder and a five year aged Cuban seed maduro wrapper from Nicaragua. And they are cheap, one $4.50 if you buy them by the box. Now I didn’t buy a box, I bought a few singles to try and this is the last one I have left so time for a review.


The wrapper is dark, but feels dry and the touch reminds me of old velvet. There are hardly veins and the wrapper just looks good. The ring is classic, red circle with golden outlines, white letters and logo. Simple and not of the best quality, yet clear. The construction feels good and the shape of the cigar is nice. The aroma is strong and deep, an intense barnyard aroma mixed with dark stained wood found on a barn that has been baking in the sun for years.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is good. It tastes a little like a raisin. After lighting I taste a mix of leather, coffee and dates. Slowly it changes to leather with sugar. Then it changes to gingerbread with some pepper and all within the first half inch. The leather is back with pepper and some floral sweetness. The leather constantly varies in strength, with herbs, pepper and a coconut sugar. The final third is dry leather, less sweet, more pepper.


The draw is good yet it’s hard to keep the cigar lit. The smoke is medium thick and full. The evolution is great. The light gray ash isn’t that firm I thought at first, as it broke quickly but then it got firm. The cigar is medium in both body and flavor. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again?  Next time I’m in Miami I’m getting a box.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Calixto Lopez, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Nica Libre Torpedo

The Nica Libre brand is a brand created by A.J. Fernandez for Cigars International as a cheap alternative for the Padron anniversary series and they called it the Padron Killer. It’s pretty clear that they did everything to make it look like a Padron, box pressed, the San Andres maduro wrapper in the same shades as Padron and even the ring resembles the Padron band a little, but then with a $3 price tag on the 6×52 torpedo *note: i’m smoking an aged one, with the old ring*


I guess I bought this cigar about 7 years ago, when I still ordered cigars from overseas and when I was looking for a good quality steal. I went online and bought several boxes of cheap cigars on Cigars International, cigars of which I heard good stories and this was one of them. And with A.J. Fernandez behind this cigar I just had to buy it since I loved almost all the cigar that I had smoked with his signature on it.


As I said, the cigar has the same shape as a Padron, the dark, leather like wrapper looks great and the factory hid the vein at the back of the cigar. The ring has different brown and beige colors and it is almost a copy of the Padron anniversary bands, C.I. did everything to make this cigar resemble a Padron, a little more creativity would have been nice. The construction feels great and the cigar has a well finished head. The aroma is quite mild and I smell some wood and dark chocolate.


I cut the cigar with a xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is perfect, I taste dry and spicy tobacco. After lighting I taste coffee, soil and green spicy herbs. Soon after I taste dried fruits. After an inch I also taste some pepper. Halfway I taste carrots, pepper and dried fruit, with pepper as a predominant flavor. The final third starts with a spicy wood, carrots and pepper.


The draw is a little loose from perfect but the smoke is thick and there is a lot of it. The ash is close to white. The burn is great but the ash isn’t very firm. The cigar is medium bodied and medium plus flavored. The smoke time is short though, only an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s not a Padron killer but it’s a very good 3 dollar cigar.

Score: 91
number91

 

Categories: 91, Nica Libre, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , ,

Di Fazio Maduro Robusto

First of all, I don’t know how I got this cigar, where I got this cigar, what the msrp of this cigar is, how long I had it. All I know is that it’s made in Honduras at Raices Cubanas and that I know because I googled the cigar. And it turns out that it’s made by a TV executive from Venezuela with Italian roots, Carmelo di Fazio and that the brand saw the light in 2009. I don’t know if they are still in business, I haven’t seen their name later than an announcement that they became an advertiser on cigarobsession but their own website is offline, so I guess Carmelo is back to making TV again.


The article I read on the Cigar Aficionado website mentions that the blend of this cigar is Honduran and Nicaraguan filler with a Honduran binder and a Nicaraguan Maduro wrapper. Further google searched learned that they had cigars made in Nicaragua too but no online shop has stock or sells the cigars anymore, and I guess that confirms my expectations that Di Fazio cigars is out of business.


The wrapper is almost black and so evenly black that I suspect this to be a cooked wrapper, a process where the wrapper leaf is dipped in a tea brewed with leftover tobacco and veins, making the wrapper turn darker. It’s a beautiful wrapper though with thin veins. The ring is pretty too, white with golden details and a yellow and brown shield and a black banner with golden letters saying Di Fazio. The cigar feels evenly filled, the cap is placed immaculate, the torcador knew what he or she was doing. The cigar has a mild aroma that reminds me of chocolate.


I cut the cigar with a xikar cutter. The cold draw is fine, a little taste right but within margins. I taste mint, wood and pepper. After lighting I taste wood and coffee. After a quarter of an inch I taste a mix of spices like cumin and nutmeg with some caramel, wood, peanut shells and white pepper. Soon I taste peanuts, wood and a little lime and mint. Halfway I taste wood, some licorice, pepper and a flavor I can’t identify but like a lot, quite meaty. The meaty flavor with a smokey barbecue flavor and some pepper mark the start of the final third. Near the end I taste wood with some peanuts an hazelnuts.


The draw is great, no complaints. The silver gray ash is firm and the burn is straight. The smoke is thick and full. This is a medium bodied and medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wish, I liked it.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Di Fazio, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , ,

MUWAT KFC Fat Molly

Early 2014 I flew to Nicaragua to visit some factories and to get to know the country a little. I went to visit Joya de Nicaragua, My Father, Oliva and we visited Drew Estate too. It was a memorable trip, we went to Condega with Gilberto Oliva, partied at the hotel with Jose Ortega (My Father Cigars) and had a great time in Esteli. During our visit to Drew Estate Jonathan asked me if I had tried the then quite new Kentucky Fire Cured and I said no, since they weren’t available outside the USA and I didn’t have time to visit a cigar shop during my transfer to Nicaragua.


Jonathan said to me “don’t give your opinion after one cigar, smoke a few before you say you like it or not, because it is something special, something different” and he handed me a hand full of the 5×56 cigars, that are actually made for Drew Estate at the Joya de Nicaragua factory. I smoked a few while in Nicaragua and smoked another one at the sun deck of my hotel in Fort Lauderdale a week later and made up my mind, this is not my cigar. A year later JD gave me a Pappy van Winkle cigar at Intertabac, and said “light it in front of me, I want to see your reaction” and the moment I lit the cigar I yelled “you MF, this has that fire cured leaf in it”. Why are you still reviewing this cigar you might ask? Well, it was a gift, it’s a few years later now and maybe my preferences have changed, I might find it enjoyable now. I used to hate Connecticut Shade, now I like some, maybe my palate tolerates fire cured tobacco now too.


The wrapper is dark, thick, leathery with some tooth and a few veins that fit with the dark and mean theme. The construction feels good with a nice cap, that has a darker smear on the wrapper. The ring is simple yet effective, brown paper, simple and clear black lettering which, again, fit the theme. And then the aroma, ultra strong the moment you release it from its wrapper. Hickory, barbecue, meat, smoke, fire, tar, those kinds of aroma come from the cigar and that makes the looks of the cigar, the simplicity of the ring and the aroma all fit together. Big points for that.


I cut the cigar with a xikar cutter. The cold draw is great and I taste barbecue, smoked ribs with sweet and spicy barbecue sauce. After lighting I taste barbecue, like the cigar has been dipped in a barbecue spice rub. After half an inch I taste sweet boiled peanuts with some barbecue spices. Halfway I taste wood, pepper and the typical smoke flavor of fire cured tobacco. The pepper grows in the final third, the wood and barbecue flavors are still going strong too. Near the end I taste peanuts again with a hefty dose of pepper.


The draw is just great and the smoke is typical Drew Estate, thick, white and a smokescreen big enough to hide a house from satellites. The white ash doesn’t hold very well. The burn is okay but needed one touch up halfway. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I might for after a barbecue, I guess my preferences have changed.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, MUWAT, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Cubao Robusto

You know that the cigar you grabbed is old when the cellophane is almost golden because of the years of soaking up oils from the cigar. Add to it that the company behind the cigar was split up and both owners went their own way more than 5 years ago and you know you have a aged, maybe even vintage, cigar in your hands, and that’s what’s the case with this EO Brands Cubao Robusto.


Back in the day the cigar was made by Don Pepin Garcia and was from Erik Espinosa and Eddie Ortega, Ortega got the name in the split up and the cigar is now sold as Ortega Cubao with an almost identical ring, only change is the Espinosa & Ortega has changed to Ortega Cigar Co. The new cigars, I don’t know if the blend is still the same, is still made at My Father Cigars while Espinosa started his own factory, La Zona, and is one of the more reputable boutique brands.


As I said, the cigar comes in a yellow, almost golden, cellophane and when I release the cigar I see a reasonable dark, smooth and oily wrapper with a leathery feel to it. The construction feels a bit hard, but evenly hard with a beautiful triple cap and a flat head. The aroma is strong, wood and barnyard, that what comes to mind. The ring is simple, it reminds me a little of a Montecristo ring because of the brown ring with white letters but bigger. The ring says “Espinosa y Ortega” on top, “CUBAO” on the bottom and in the middle a white tobacco flower.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is very good that tastes like raisin and black pepper. After I lit the cigar I taste a nice coffee flavor with the perfect amount of bitterness and a faint hint of cocoa. After a few puffs it’s coffee with chocolate butter, almost Nutella like. The second third starts with a mild chocolate butter flavor, with green leaves or fresh wood, and a little bit of cinnamon on the back of my throat. The cinnamon slowly grows stronger and is not just on the back of my throat anymore. The final third starts nutty with some chocolate sweetness and pepper.


The smoke is very thick and there is plenty. The burn is a bit off though. The draw is close to perfect. The ash is white and firm. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is little over an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, especially the first third is great.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Cubao, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

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